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The Cloverfield Monster


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Vlad the Impaler
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« on: November 18, 2008, 10:15:14 pm »



The Cloverfield Monster

Clover is the production name given to the giant monster (akin to the Japanese Kaiju) that appears in the 2008 film Cloverfield. The creature was originally conceived by producer J. J. Abrams and was designed by artist Neville Page. In the film, the monster is never named; the name "Cloverfield" is the US Department of Defense case file of the incidents depicted in the movie. The Department of Defense names the creature "LSA" for Large Scale Aggressor in the movie's Blu-Ray Disc Special Feature, "Cloverfield Special Investigation mode". The name Clover derives from an affectionate nickname among the production staff. The creature was well received by critics, citing the monster's slow reveal throughout the movie, similar to that of the shark in Jaws.

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Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 10:18:25 pm »



The monster looms over Grand Central Terminal.
Classification Ancient amphibious creature
First appearance Cloverfield
Created by J. J. Abrams (producer)
Neville Page (designer)
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Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2008, 10:21:15 pm »

Clover was first referred to in the viral marketing campaign for the 2008 film, including a recording of his roar, foreign news clips about a monster attack, and sonar images.

Clover appears in a four-part manga series Cloverfield/Kishin by Yoshiki Togawa, which serves as a spin-off to the film. The monster made his first full appearance in Cloverfield, where he was seen rampaging through New York City and being attacked by the United States military, resulting in an airstrike that obliterates Manhattan and, according to an interview with Abrams, kills the monster, despite the fact that a radio transmission heard after the film's credits state that "It's still alive".

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Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 10:23:09 pm »



J.J. Abrams conceived of a new monster after he and his son visited a toy store in Japan while promoting Mission: Impossible III. He explained, "We saw all these Godzilla toys, and I thought, we need our own [American] monster, and not like King Kong. King Kong is adorable. And Godzilla is a charming monster. We love Godzilla. But I wanted something that was just insane and intense".

Clover was designed by artist Neville Page. He sought a biological rationale for the creature, though many of his ideas would not show up on screen. Page designed the creature as immature and suffering from "separation anxiety". He compared the creature to a rampaging elephant, saying "there's nothing scarier than something huge that's spooked". Page said of the creature's backstory, "For me, one of the most key moments in our collective brainstorming was the choice to make the creature be something that we would empathize with. It is not out there, just killing. It is confused, lost, scared. It's a newborn. Having this be a story point (one that the audience does not know), it allowed for some purposeful choices about its anatomy, movement and, yes, motivations". The creature was developed by visual effects supervisor Kevin Blank and Phil Tippett's company Tippett Studio. Blank described the intended goal of the creature, "Rather than the monster having a personality [like Godzilla or King Kong], it's more of an entity or an event".

Goddard pointed out the lack of explanation in the film of the creature's origin was deliberate. Despite this in the final moments of the tape, after the explosion and just before the credits, the characters Beth and Rob are talking while on a ride. The camera time and date states April 27, 6:17pm and the camera is pointed out the window at a section of beach and ocean. An object is seen coming in from the upper right, very small, but splashing down into the water. It impacts just to the left of the yacht in that scene. The date is previous to the monster's attack on the city. As part of the viral marketing campaign, it is explained that the splash is made by a satellite crashing into the ocean. The satellite was owned by the Tagruato corporation, which has been harvesting one of the ingredients of its patented "Slusho" beverage from the ocean floor, which possibly drew the attention of the Clover creature.

Reeves described the creature's reaction to its surroundings thus: "It’s this new environment that it finds frightening". To indicate this, Reeves suggested the addition of white in the creature's eyes so it would look similar to a horse who is spooked. The filmmakers generated and used the idea of parasites because the film could not realistically have scenes between the human protagonists and the enormous creature.

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Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 10:25:03 pm »



Although "just a baby", the young creature is 30 stories tall, weighs around 6,400 tons, and has a thick hide that resists every attack the military attempts. At the end of the movie, Manhattan is sacrificed in order to kill it.

Clover's design includes appendages on his underbelly, described by Neville Page as an "elongated, and articulated external esophagus with the business end terminating in teethlike fingers". They were designed as a body part to relate the scale of human prey to the huge scale of the creature. The scenes from the movie where Clover sucked people into these "feeding tubes" were cut from the final edit, but the fourth and final chapter of Cloverfield/Kishin shows how the "feeding tubes" work.

Clover is covered with parasites, which it sheds as part of a 'post-birth ritual'. Abrams described the parasites as "horrifying, dog-sized creatures that just scatter around the city and add to the nightmare of the evening". Reeves added that "The parasites have a voracious, rabid, bounding nature, but they also have a crab-like crawl. They have the viciousness of a dog, but with the ability to climb walls and stick to objects". The parasites fall off Clover and begin to attack people. The Parasite's jaw is unique in that the top half of the head is the mandible, moving up from the lower jaw to open, as opposed to the reverse with almost all terrestrial animals. The top and lower jaws end in serrated edges and also have four pairs of eyes each. The rest of the parasite is comprised of a crustacean-like carapace, several pairs of claws, and arms. A deep blue-purple muscular membrane stretches between the top and lower jaws. When a human is bitten, the victim becomes ill and bleeds profusely, and shortly after this the torso expands and explodes.

Artist Neville Page, in response to claims that the design of the creature was similar to that of the 2006 South Korean film The Host, said, "They are [similar] in that they ravage and seem to originate from the water, but the end results are quite different. However, when I finally saw some of the concept art, there were some very obvious similarities. But then again, I think that we were both channeling similar biological possibilities".

The final two chapters of Cloverfield/Kishin offer more biological information regarding the creature. In this, it is revealed that the creature somehow gains strength and intellect through a biological orb that the characters call the "Splinter of Amnion"; the cult's name for it is "God's Vestige", as they are known to worship the creature. This orb can be inserted into a human being or possibly into the monster itself. The orb is activated by negative emotions such as rage or despair, and can grant the human in possession of it control over the monster's parasites, as long as they still harbor those emotions. Conversely, positive emotions such as love, hope, and happiness can hamper its performance as seen with Kishin's case, which explains why the monster was shocked to see that he no longer harbored despair and rage when it attempted to absorb the Splinter of Amnion on its own; the reason why it only feeds on negative emotions is left unexplained. When the monster retreated to the sea bed of Japan, it returns to a series of massive eggs akin to a nest where it goes into deep slumber, implying that there are more Clovers.

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Vlad the Impaler
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2008, 10:29:38 pm »



Reviewing the film Cloverfield, the San Jose Mercury News described the creature as "a monster for the MySpace generation". Reviewer James Berardinelli noted, "The movie follows the Jaws rule that monsters are usually more intimidating when they are shown infrequently and only in brief glimpses". Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle described the creature as retaining "an air of mystery — a monstrous je ne sais quoi that makes him all the freakier." Richard Corliss of Time complained of the recycled elements of the creature, such as its emergence mimicking the 1954 film Godzilla and its little crab creatures being similar to the "toy meanies" from the 1984 film Gremlins.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times expressed his acceptance of the lack of explanation for the creature's origin, saying, "Which is all right with me after the tiresome opening speeches in so many of the 30 or more Godzilla films". Peter Howell of the Toronto Star thought that the "main" creature was disappointing, while he considered the "mutant spider crabs" that came from it as "way scarier". Todd McCarthy of Variety found that the creature was more reassuring as it appeared more in the film, explaining, "Its very nature as a walking, stalking being suggests it can somehow be killed by conventional means". Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News applauded the creature's appearance as cinematic: "The thrill here isn't in the critter but in how it's revealed. First we see what it's capable of. Then we catch a tail here, a limb there. The spider-crabs announce their presence with authority. Then, once the opening acts are done, and Manhattan is in a shambles, the big guy is ready for his close-up".
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